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Showing posts from October, 2009

Before the storm

Just did a quick tour of the local Reservoirs this-afternoon. They were sailing on Rishton Res so not much there. The four Great Crested Grebes were still present as were 41 Canada Geese. Up on Parsonage there were at least 11 Snipe on the small reservoir with the Little Grebes and Coot. another 69 Canada Geese with two Pink-footed Geese fed in the field. On the main reservoir, there were quite a fe duck (in comparison to recently anyway) - two Goldeneye, 13 Teal and three Wigeon.
We'll see what the storm brings tomorrow - not the ideal weather for winter atlas work so that'll have to be postponed a week or so.

Sizergh Hawfinches

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Yesterday was spent up in Cumbria with our good friend Paul and his menagerie. We called in at Sizergh Catle car park en route to Burneside (above Kendal) in order to see if we could get a glimpse of the resident Hawfinches.
There were plenty of birds in the car park - a large flock of Redwing with Fieldfare, Blackbirds, Mistle and Song Thrushes were very much in evidence. There were plenty of Chaffinches and Tits as well as a rather demonstrative Nuthatch that called incessantly and a male Blackcap that fed on the Elderberries.
It took about ten minutes until I noticed my first Hawfinch in the trees above the visitor centre, closely followed by another three birds. They sat high in the branches before disappearing behind the centre as another bird joined them. I thought they might come back for a repeat show but it all went quiet again so we set off to Paul's place just up the road.
Meadow House is in a wonderful place on the south side of Potter Fell with fantastic views. Paul h…

Back to the marshes

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As I filled the feeders this morning, I could hear the familiar mournful whistle of a Bullfinch so I was pleasantly surprised to get three of them including two unringed females. Good numbers of Gold, Green and Chaffinches have been visiting lately as well as two Great Spotted Woodpeckers. A couple of Redpoll were heard over the garden at the weekend but I've not seen them down yet.
A visit to Rishton Reservoir in the murk yielded four Wigeon but nothing else of note apart from a lot of Tit and Wagtail activity. I checked Parsonage Reservoir - just three drake Tufted Ducks, two Little Grebes and a few Snipe again - but visibility was poor and it was really gloomy so I decided to pay a visit to Hesketh Out Marsh again.

The light was reasonably good but there was nothing close to the observation point - not surprising really as there is no screening of ones approach at all (please get this rectified, RSPB!). At the back of the first pool I noticed an odd Shelduck - a Ruddy x Common …

Crowning Glory

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I haven't caught up with the much-improved Autumn Watch yet following yesterday's birding and intellectual exploits but if Chris Packham was rubbing his thighs at the thought of a Red-flanked Bluetail, then I shudder to think how he coped with the news of the Eastern Crowned Warbler at South Shields. What a cracking bird!

My phone had been on charge when I checked it late on Friday evening - Bernie could hear the expletives and after a couple of calls we had arranged a car load to travel up to an area that I love to go to, especially in the autumn. John had to be back very early so he'd set off himself and as Billy, Phil and myself made our way over the grassy area behind the coastal cliffs we became ever more excited about the prospect of seeing this bird. Billy had regaled us of the desire of friends in the north east that really wanted to connect with this bird in the UK and it had happened at last. A crowd was assembled at the top of the cliff and in the disused quarry …

A Dowitcher at last

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Bernie's coughing and spluttering everywhere and I haven't had a good nights sleep for ages so it was a bit of an effort to drag myself out of bed this-morning. However it was a beautiful day so I thought I'd check the reservoir before doing the shopping. As is becoming usual these days, I was rather brassed off when I saw a fisherman's tent on the far bank but there were still a few birds around as whoever was in there hadn't set foot outside.

A flock of 29 Redwings flew over as well as Meadow Pipits and Siskin. Robins were active in the bushes and all seemed well. Then the fisherman appeared and everything took off - including five Wigeon (unusual here) and 42 Lapwings. There was nothing else happening so it was off to the shops before the afternoon's planned excursion to the coast. I managed a few minutes in the 'obs' - plenty of activity here but once again, the Woodpeckers arrived after I left.

Banks Marsh

I met up with Billy and John at 1:30 and we …

A quiet local weekend

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With the pressure systems over Britain all a bit of a mess, not a lot was happening in our local area. On Saturday morning, the fog was thick and I thought I'd have a look at Rishton Res only to find that they were shooting geese again - however I couldn't see the far bank so goodness knows what they were taking out. I decided to work in the garden and hope for some migratory movement overhead but even here ut was rather benign.

I took a break in the 'obs' and got a few nice images like this Greenfinch but when I left, a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers landed right next to the shed.

We are occasionally getting Bullfinches back in the garden and double figure flocks of Goldfinches that are probably moving through, but there's no sign of any Redpolls yet.

I nipped up to Parsonage Reservoir in the afternoon. Two Little Grebes and 63 Canada Geese were on the smaller marshy part whilst on the main reservoir there was just two drake Tufted Ducks. Just about summed up the …

A chill in the air

The last few days have seen a distinct reduction in the temperature and there seems to be a bit of thrush activity at last. A couple of days ago, there were at least ten Blackbirds and several Song Thrushes chasing each other around the scrub outside my office window along with several Chaffinches. A quick trip to the reservoir is in order after work and before the forecast deluge starts. Tomorrow could be quite interesting.

There was not all that much on Rishton Res this-afternoon. No grebes! No ducks! However the post-tip, pre-roost bathing of large gulls has started - 77 LBBG's and three Herring Gulls along with 71 BHG's and a paltry four Lapwings. Theere was a nice mixed flock of tits on the sunny side of Cut Wood with at least 25 birds in it including 12+ Long-tailed Tits.

Why pay for exfoliaton?

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Its blowing a gale. Fantastic. I love this weather - makes me want to get out on the coast and look for Leach's Petrels!
I had a few boxes of Bird Reports to distribute; I'd posted out the bulk yesterday but our sales outlets needed their stocks so it was a good excuse to head south-west. I called in at Rishton Reservoir on the way and was very surprised to find a female/immature Common Scoter on there - what an amazing run of birds we're having. There was little else easily viewable as I was looking into the teeth of the gale and the rain was pelting down - just around 40 Lapwings on the far bank and an increase in the Black-headed Gull population.
I deposited the reports at Martin Mere, Mere Sands Wood and Marshside before heading to Ainsdale where I picked up my brother headed out to the beach.

We parked up by the rangers compound and headed over the dunes to the beach - it was tortuous with the sand swirling around. Graeme noted that a sand-blast does wonders for the sk…